Sunrise Beach Little Theatre will host the "world premiere" of a new play July 10.

Sunrise Beach Little Theatre will host the "world premiere" of a new play July 10.

The musical production running July 10-13 at the Sunrise Beach Community Center was written and composed by Cheryl Glawe. The Camden County resident is also directing her play besides playing a couple smaller roles.

While Glawe has acted in and directed many plays for SBLT written by others, "Ting Pao's Chinese Laundry" is her first effort at writing a full-length play with music.

The story line of the play follows three women in 1906 Chicago as they each try to figure out their way in a world dominated by men and practicalities out of their control. Oh, and along the way, the play includes the imagined invention of dry cleaning.

There's Kate Clancy, who is an Irish girl who wants to marry and marry well, but gets involved in a love triangle that confuses things.

Kate is friends with Sylvia Schwartz, a Polish Jew who wants nothing to do with marriage. Instead she dreams of opening her own business.

While working together at the laundry owned by Ting Pao, the two women meet the third protagonist, Wu Ping, a Chinese immigrant who has come to America under tragic circumstances.

The characters and their stories all speak to the immigrant experience in America, says Glawe. The story line was inspired by her interests in history and women's rights.

She describes the play as uplifting but not without its low points for the characters and a little light-hearted humor. Members of the cast call it a dramatic comedy.

An off and on "closet poet," Glawe says the idea to write a play snuck up on her over time after first getting involved with the SBLT in 1999.

Dragged in to help with set painting by a friend, Glawe stayed involved long after the friend left. She eventually got into the acting side and then directing and has served on the board as well.

Glawe enjoys the theatre for the "rush of being creative."

"It's never the same show. It's ephemeral and bittersweet too because you invest all this time into a play and then it's done and you're on to the next one," she says.

The kernel of inspiration to try to write something herself came from one-time SBLT member Addie Forbes, who was well-known on the Westside for her children's plays and skits.

Glawe has since written a skit that was well received in a performance at Arts in the Park in Camdenton.

But "Ting Pao's Chinese Laundry" has long been her baby. Glawe wrote the play five years ago to see if she could do it.

While she originally started off with the simple plot of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, Glawe decided that was too simple and worked in other conflicts and story lines to give the play more tension.

But since completing the play, Glawe says she never had the courage to write the score until about a year ago. Not a musician, she spent a year learning about and then composing the score through a computer program and music books.

With the renovation of the Sunrise Beach Community Center kitchen, the board was looking for a cheap show to produce to raise money. A board member, Glawe brought up her play as there were no royalties to pay or books to buy.

The rest of the board thought it was a great idea, and Glawe got busy working out the rest of the production details.

"It's really been an ego trip for me," laughs Glawe. "I've sat on this egg for five years and it's finally starting to hatch.... It is a special thrill when something you created is out there for people to see."


Cast of Characters
Laila Thurman as Kate Clancy
Toree Foulk as Sylvia Schwartz
Todd Hanks as Sam Woodbury
Amy Reiske as Shopkeeper
Cheryl Glawe as Mrs. Woolburry and Percy Cavanaugh
Josh Crane as Ting Pao
Dalia Shamburg as Wu Ping
Pam Lancaster as Master Chang
Jossalyn Parsley as Fiddler
Don Melke as Jewish Man and Jaio Chang
Michelle Hoffpauir as Policeman
Logan Foulk, Skyler Foulk, Jolene Shamburg and Priscella Hoffpauir as children in the park, ships